All posts for the month May, 2015

Good afternoon! Looks like things aren’t slowing down in the beer world in Atlantic Canada this week, as we’ve got lots of new news to share with you all!

• There’s a big Canada Day event scheduled in Fredericton this summer, brought to you from those behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival! The Canada Day Bash will be held on July 1st from 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm at the Lighthouse on the Green downtown, and will feature fifteen 4 oz samples of various beer, meads and ciders brewed in New Brunswick: Big Axe, Grimross, Railcar, Red Rover, Sunset Heights Meadery, and TrailWay will all be pouring. There will be a large variety of food included – all of which will be prepared by Food at the Crowne – such as cornbread, various salads, and a carved, slow-cooked suckling pig. Tickets just went on sale a couple of days ago, but are already over 50% sold out! They’re $76 + fee, and can be purchased online.

Garrison Brewing has released a new beer this week, brewed during Open Brewery Day, held May 9th. Wry & Ginger IPA was the runner-up in the 2012 Ultimate Brew-Off homebrewer competition, and ever since tasting it, Brewmaster Daniel Girard had been threatening to have homebrewer David Bardsley brew a full scale batch. The beer features 15% Rye malt, with the remaining grist bill consisting of Maritime Pale Malt. The beer is hopped with Millenium and Willamette to 52 IBUs. Four kilograms (!!) of fresh ginger was peeled, chopped, and added to the boil. The result is a refreshing ginger aroma, medium body, and moderate spicy taste from the hop, ginger, and rye. This beer is only available on tap at the brewery and select bars, while supplies last.

Paddys Irish Brewpub in Wolfville and Kentville have a few new beers now on tap at both locations, for purchase in the pint, or to take home in a growler. A Helles Lager is now on tap, which was the first time performing a step mash on their system, which introduces some malt complexity from the different enzymes favoured at different mash temperatures, leading to a more diverse range of sugars produced in the mash, and an overall increase in the fermentable sugars in the wort. The resultant beer is a crisp and refreshing gold-coloured Euro-style lager, weighing in at 5.7% ABV and 20 IBUs. Due to the success with this first experiment, look for the step mashing technique to make a return in future brews. Paddys’ Porter is a malty beer, featuring notes of coffee and chocolate (from malts, not flavour additions), brewed in the Brown Porter style. Not quite as dark or heavy as a stout, this will be a perfect dark beer for the warmer months. It clocks in at 5.3% ABV and 30 IBUs. And finally, their customer-favourite Raspberry Ale has returned. It starts from a straw-coloured crisp Cream Ale base, with an addition of raspberry extract for a pleasant raspberry flavour. 5% ABV and 4 IBUs.

• Last Friday, TrailWay released a new beer as one of their two casks at the King Street Ale House. American Stout is described by the brewery as actually falling somewhere between an American Stout and Sweet Stout, since it had a small lactose addition during the boil. Brewed with seven different malts to give lots of roasted and chocolate flavour/aromas, it weighs in at about 6% ABV and 50 IBUs. You may still be able to find it on tap around Fredericton, but if you missed it, fear not – they DO plan on brewing it again sometime in the future. And keep your eyes open for the return of their fruit beer, Raspberry Wheat, which should be available now. And look for a cask of Black Hops One to be tapped at the KSAH tonight.

Sunset Heights Meadery has been raising bees (and, of course, cultivating their honey) on the rooftop of the Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook hotel in downtown Fredericton since 2014. They have used that honey to brew a special batch of mead, Crowne Jewel Rooftop Mead, which is now on sale at the hotel (including the James Joyce Pub, Terrace, and Maverick Room) by the glass or bottle. This is the first time a hotel keeping bees on their roof have had a mead made from it, and available to the public.

Good Robot Brewing is releasing their fourth brew shortly, and we want to be sure you’re in the know! Crown on the Ground is their take on a California Common, with a few Nova Scotia alterations. The malt bill features Amber and Rye malts, for a toast and light spice character, with Cara and Red X malts used to increase malt sweetness. Perle, Mt. Hood, and Magnum hops were used for clean bittering and aroma, more akin to a German lager, punching the bitterness up to 34 IBUs (though the big malt body masks some of that). Just like the original Steam Beer, it was fermented cooler than most ales (12.5 deg C), allowing the yeast to take their time working, fermenting for over a month, and then conditioning for another week before the beer was ready for carbonation and kegging. The final ABV of this release is 4.2%. The “Crown on the Ground” name was inspired by a trip by the three founders to Bonnaroo, a festival held near Nashville, and one of the acts that played that night, Sleigh Bells. The Good Robot Crew will be hosting a mini Festival next Sunday afternoon to launch the beer, featuring music, art, games, and a Food Truck.

• As part of their Historical Brown Ale series, Picaroons has re-branded their 104th Regiment, a 4.2% ABV English Brown Ale, as The Connell Stamp. The newly-labelled beer should be available now at ANBL stores across the province; 25 cents from every bottle purchased will go to the Carleton County Historical Society & Connell House in Woodstock. Picaroons owner Sean Dunbar recently presented a cheque for $10,000 to the Fredericton Region Museum, which was raised over the last year through sales of 104th Regiment.

Railcar Brewing is planning on hosting a series of summer beer tasting sessions at their brewery in Florenceville; the first session is scheduled for Saturday, June 13th from 6-9 pm, and will feature IPAs. Owner/brewer Mitch Biggar will be hosting the tasting, where he will be discussing the history and development of the India Pale Ale in recent years, including the differences and similarities between East and West coast versions of the style. IPAs from Railcar, Garrison, Picaroons, Propeller, and Pump House will be pouring, and there will also be an info session on brewing IPAs. Tickets are $20 each, and will be available at the door.

• And while in the area, be sure to drop by Big Axe Brewery in Nackawic on the 13th to celebrate their First Anniversary. Beginning at 1pm, the celebration will include tours of the brewery and several special local beers and ciders on tap. That’s right, they will be pouring Red Rover Cider in their taproom with the extended draught line-up. Local band Julio’s Garage will be playing from 8-11pm.

• Last weekend, the judging of the final six entries in the Gahan House – Charlottetown Home Brewer’s Challenge took place, and homebrewer Ryan Palmer took the top spot for the second year in a row! His Summer in New Zealand American Wheat Ale features Wakatu hops, with Grains of Paradise and Lemon & Lime zest. The beer weighed in at 5% ABV and 31 IBUs, and the judges agreed that it was an excellent beer. Palmer and Gahan brewmaster Trent Hayes are planning the brewday for next week, and expect the beer to be released before July 1st. Congratulations Ryan!

• Speaking of Gahan, they have also released a brand new beer, Milk Money Vanilla Milk Stout. A Milk/Sweet Stout get its name from the lactose sugar addition to the beer, which is largely unfermentable by the yeast. The result is a sweeter beer, but not sickeningly so. The beer weighs in a 5.25% ABV and 20 IBUs. And for a chance to win a Gahan Brewery Tour for yourself and 10 co-workers, share this picture from the Gahan Facebook page. The draw happens this afternoon.

• Cross a bridge, a ferry, or both, and you’ll hit Gahan House -Harbourfront in Halifax. Brewster Karen Allen has released their latest seasonal, The Thing Session Ale. Based on an American Wheat Ale, the beer weighs in at 4.7% ABV and a robust 53 IBUs, but the numbers only tell a small part of the story. Tons of late additions of Cascade and Sorachi Ace hops give a blast of citrus aroma to complement the wheat character and dry finish, to complete this easy-drinking bevvy.

North Brewing has released a new beer this week, a Belgian Pale Ale. First teased and tasted during their Brooklyn Warehouse dinner during NS Craft Beer Week, the beer is now available at the brewery and at the private beer stores in town, as well as on tap. Featuring Belgian Pale Ale, Vienna and Carapils malts, and a lime finish from Wakatu hops, it weighs in at 5% ABV and 35 IBUs.

The Nook & Cranny in Truro launched their first beer late last week, Blueberry Wheat. Produced with DME’s SmartBrew system, it uses an addition of  100% pure NS Blueberry Juice for a great fruit flavour and aroma. The base Wheat Ale recipe used Southern Cross hops to a light 10 IBUs bittering, and the beer boasts a sessionable 5% ABV. It has been a hot seller on tap and in growlers since its release. Their Spitting Alpaca Pale Ale and Black Beer’d Black IPA are coming out very soon, and we’ll share details next week. Cheers!

• There’s yet another new brewery in the works for New Brunswick! Savoie’s Brewhouse, owned by Rodney Savoie, is located in Charlo; they’ve received their licenses, and will be brewing test batches in the near future. Stay tuned for more info, as we’ll be posting a Q&A with them soon!

Enjoy the hopefully-nice weather this weekend! If you’re near one of the four ANBLs with growler stations, keep in mind it’s all NB breweries featured this week, including Pump House Biere de Garde, Petit-Sault Soeur Catherine, and the Connell Stamp from Picaroons mentioned above. And keep your eyes open for Boxing Rock Crafty Jack, which should be available in ANBL stores for the first time, soon. Red Rover has added another market to their weekly flagon sales, as they will be available every Saturday at the Kingston Farmers Market from 8 am – 1 pm. Sea Level‘s popular seasonal, Apple Blossom Ale, is now available once again at the Port Pub on tap, celebrating the 83rd Apple Blossom Festival. And congratulations to the Fredericton Beer Run, which was listed in a recent DRAFT Magazine article as one of the seven Beer Runs to participate in in this country! This year’s event will be held on August 3rd; there are still some tickets available.

Howdy! Now that we’ve all had a chance to recover from last week’s excellent Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week… it’s time to dive into more beer news! Hair of the dog, right?

• Following up on last week’s news, we now have all the information on the third beer from Upstreet Craft Brewing. Joining Commons Pilsner and Do-Gooder APA as the inaugural-release beers, Rhuby Social is definitely a new style to the Island – a Strawberry-Rhubarb Witbier. Brewed with a simple malt bill and lightly hopped to 12 IBUs, it features several “traditional and non-traditional” spice additions at the end of the boil. It’s then fermented with a “subtly-flavoured” Belgian yeast, adding character while allowing the Maritime-sourced rhubarb and strawberries (which are added post-fermentation) to shine through. This all results in a tart (but not sour), refreshing, and easy-drinking (at 5% ABV) ale. Looking forward to when all of us can sample these beers for the first time!

Celtic Knot has recently rebrewed For Shore, their popular seasonal from last year. A Session IPA, this year’s batch features some slight changes: where the first version of this beer was hopped with two Australian varieties, Ella and Waimea, the new batch will feature Ella and two other varieties, Galaxy (Australia) and Mandarina Bavaria (Germany), both of which are known for being highly tropical and citrusy. Most of the hop additions came during the end of the boil and in the dry-hop, to maximize flavour and aroma while minimizing perceived bitterness. Coming in at 5% ABV and 35 IBUs, it should be available sometime in June; we’ll keep you updated on its release!

Big Spruce Brewing has released their first Blonde Ale, named Jilted Blonde. Weighing in at 5% ABV and 30 IBUs, this beer features the Australian Topaz hop exclusively. A renowned multi-purpose hop, with excellent bittering, flavour and aroma properties, Brewmaster Jeremy White decided to only use it in the later stages of the boil. The result is a great example of the hop’s characteristics. For an additional blast of Topaz aroma, a portion has been cask conditioned with a extra dry-hop charge, and will be available at Stillwell soon.

• This year’s Fredericton Burger Battle (organized by Eat New Brunswick) is quickly approaching (June 8th-21st), and to coincide, New Brunswick Beer Tours will be launching the first ever YFC Burger Battle Walking Tours. A series of four, 3-hour walking tours, each will feature six different sliders paired with a different Picaroons beer (8 oz per pour), at a different location (the key word here is “different”). Confirmed spots include the King Street Ale House, Brewbakers, Vault 29, The Blue Door, and Delta Fredericton. The type of sliders available will change from tour to tour (there are four dates, June 11th, 13th, 18th and 20th), and will vary from beef tenderloin, to chorizo, to pulled pork, and beyond! Each Thursday tour will start at 6 pm, while the Saturday tours begin at 1 pm; tickets can be purchased for $49 (all included) on the NB Beer Tour site now. Exercise, beer, and burgers… the perfect combination!

• Speaking of Picaroons, it’s been announced that they will eventually be opening a Brewtique-like location in Uptown Saint John, at 30-38 Canterbury St. Details are slim at the moment, but it is confirmed they will be occupying space at this address sometime in the future, where locals can expect to see several taps for growler fills, merchandise for sale, and a small brew system on-site. It’s also possible they will dedicate some taps to local, small breweries in the future. Stay tuned!

YellowBelly Brewery in St. John’s has released a summer seasonal this week, dubbed Summer Wheat. It is a light American Wheat Ale, brewed with 30% wheat malt, with the remainder of the grain bill being Canadian and English Pale Ale malts (2-row and Maris Otter). It is very light in appearance and slightly hazy due to the wheat content. It weighs in at 4.5% ABV, and is lightly bittered to 14 IBUs with Nugget and Cluster. It is also triple dry-hopped with Cascade, Topaz and Mosaic, for a substantial fruity aroma. From Brewmaster Liam McKenna, “I was worried it may turn into a sort of hop tea but the hop flavours have integrated well. It works perfectly as a taste of summer. It is light and hoppy but finishes extremely clean. A perfect patio beer.” Cheers to that! It is on tap at the brewery now, but won’t last long!

• There was some action at Paddys Irish Brewpub in Wolfville this week, as they took delivery of a new 7 BBL fermenter from DME. The expanded capacity will allow them to increase their draught and growler line-up to eight varieties, and to make lagers a regular part of their offerings. Speaking of which, look for their Helles lager on tap shortly.

• The very popular Cerberus IPA conspiracy brew between Big Spruce, Propeller and Tatamagouche breweries will make another appearance in bottles this morning, with a limited run available at Bishop’s Cellar. It has also been available on tap for growler fills at all three breweries (and occasionally at the growler stations at the private stores), and their stocks are getting low, so be sure and snag this one today!

• The Obey Convention VIII has kicked off in Halifax, and to celebrate, Garrison has brought back OBEY This Brew. Available in bottles now, and on tap shortly at the brewery for samples and growlers, this 5% ABV & 40 IBU Pale Ale will also be available at all of the OBEY shows (licensing permitting).

• As part of next weekend’s Atlantic Beer Festival, several spots in Moncton will be taking part in “Belgian Beer Week”, kicking off Sunday. Daily dinners and Belgian beer tastings at the Pump House Brewpub, Marky’s Laundromat, St James Gate and Plan B will feature different beers and breweries. Check the Festival’s Facebook page for exact details. Tickets are still available online for all three sessions of the Fest.

• Tickets for the NLC Beer Expo, being held June 5th and 6th at the Delta St. John’s Hotel, are on sale now. Priced at $82, they include unlimited tasting of more than 100 different beers and ciders (pamphlet with beer list is available here), pub grub, and a $10 taxi voucher. The show runs from 7-10 pm both Friday and Saturday, and tickets are available online here.

• The Gahan House Charlottetown Homebrew Competition has been narrowed down to the final 6 entries, with the judging happening this weekend. Judging will also take place for the Brewnosers Homebrew Competition this weekend. Good luck to all that entered!

As always, thanks for reading! The Acadie-Broue/Big Tide collaboration beer, La Gaboteuse II, is now available at the Big Tide brewpub for pints and growlers; this Belgian IPA won’t last long, so get down there quick to give it a try! This weekend, all four ANBL growler stations have a new version of Picaroons’ Blonde Ale… this batch has been dry-hopped with lots of Cascade. They’re calling it Selection Blonde Ale; you can also find a limited quantity at the Brewtique for growler fills. Picaroons is also holding a tap takeover tomorrow, May 23rd, at the Red Herring Pub in Saint Andrews; there’s no cover, and there should be lots of live music and beer! Petit-Sault‘s IPA, Soeur Catherine, is back once again at the brewery for growler fills, and is expected to be available in bottles, soon. TrailWay is holding another Cask Night at the King Street Ale House this evening, starting at 5 pm; they’ll have two casks pouring – their Hugh John Hops (DIPA), and a new American Stout (which should follow soon after on tap around Fredericton). And finally, in other Fredericton news, rumours have been circulating for months about Gray Stone Brewing, a brewery/taproom planning to open downtown (behind Wilser’s Room) in the near future. Recent artist renderings of the building have surfaced, and the city’s planning advisory committee have approved zoning. We’ll have more information on this new brewery for you, soon!

Happy Friday, everyone! We’ve been swept up in the fun and excitement that is #NSCraftBeerWeek, with lots of great events, dinners, and tap takeovers. There are still a few events this weekend, including tonight’s Brews Cruise on the tall ship Silva and Tap Takeover at Windsor’s Spitfire Arms (featuring Meander River, Schoolhouse and Sea Level), tomorrow’s sold out Full House Craft Beer Fest, and Sunday’s Brewer’s Brunch at the Stubborn Goat, so be sure to take them in.

• The Race the Kegs event will take place tonight at the Gahan House Harbourfront. Racing in from the Bedford Yacht Squadron on 24-foot sailboats, the North and South teams will be competing to see who can get their kegs tapped and pouring first. The event kicks off around 6:30pm. The “South” team (Boxing Rock, Gahan House, Hell Bay and Sea Level) are releasing Rule 42 – brewed with all English hops (Challenger, Phoenix, and Bramling Cross), the beer was named after the the boat-racing rule (stating that only the wind and water can be used to increased, decrease, or maintain a craft’s speed). It clocks in at 5.3% and 50 IBUs. As for the “North” team (Big Spruce, Good Robot, North Brewing, and Uncle Leo’s), their Northern Bight was brewed with plenty of Crystal 120 L for colour, and to boost the “spicy body”. Hopped entirely with UK Goldings in the boil, and dry-hopped with… well, that’s a secret, and we can’t tell you! This 6.3% ABV, 60 IBUs ale was fermented with Nottingham, a dry English yeast. May the best beer win! No tickets are necessary to come take part in the fun, and there will be plenty of other NS Craft Beer on tap as well to celebrate the event. These two beers will then be available for growler fills at their participant breweries, and on tap at bars around the province.

• With their opening day getting closer and closer, Upstreet Craft Brewing has announced details on their first three beer releases. The first is Commons Pilsner; brewed in the Bohemian style, the beer was named after its birthplace – in the 18th century, the brewery location used to be known as the “Commons”, or the outskirts of Charlottetown proper. Fermented with a lager yeast strain, this Czech-style beer is brewed with real Czech ingredients, including Bohemian floor-malted pilsner malt, and lots of Czech Saaz hops (with plenty being added late in the boil to increase the spicy aroma/flavour indicative to the style). Coming in at 4.5% ABV and 35 IBUs, this “balanced and crisp” Lager is the perfect style for summer-drinking!

•  Next up is an American Pale Ale named in honor of all those who helped the brewery come to fruition… Do-Gooder APA. Proudly brewed using 50% Maritime Malt, it features a malty backbone and medium bitterness, with a blast of citrus and fruitness in the aroma, thanks to hop bursting (adding most of the hops very late in the boil). Something to satisfy the hopheads but also accessible for those who don’t think they like hoppy or bitter beers. The Do-Gooder weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 45 IBUs. And we’ve heard a rumour about a Belgian-inspired fruit beer to be revealed shortly!

Sea Level has released their returning summer seasonal, Summer Blonde Pilsner. Brewed with 100% Maritime Malt, this “crisp, refreshing” Lager is hopped with the aptly-named Australian variety, Summer. Coming in at a sessionable 4.8% ABV, the beer finishes with a fairly-firm bitterness, at 40 IBUs. You can find it at the brewery now for growler fills and can purchases; look for it at private liquor stores across Halifax, soon.

• The folks behind Lake of Bays, a craft brewery from Baysville, ON, are coming to New Brunswick, and there will be a a series of beer dinners to celebrate:

In Fredericton, the Lake of Bays’ owners will be dropping by the King Street Ale House on May 27th, and Chef Aaron Fraser will be putting together a four course meal to pair with their offerings. The beers will be Rock Cut LagerCrosswind Pale Ale, Spark House Red Ale10 Point IPAOld North Mocha Porter, and a special Cask beer brewed for the event. Tickets will be going on sale very soon, keep on eye on the KSAH Facebook and Twitter feeds for details.

In Moncton, they are partnering with the  Moncton Beer League and local Chefs Dan & Cheryl McLenaghan for an event at La Teraz, on May 28th. A four course menu will be paired with four different Lake of Bays beer, plus a few others, and a souvenir glass. The dinner begins at 7:30 (doors at 6:30), and tickets are available now. The last Moncton Beer League dinner sold out well before the event, so don’t delay! Early bird tickets are available until May 20th for a $10 savings, ticket sales close May 23rd. Sales from this event will help support the Humanity Project. Keep up with the event on Facebook or Twitter.

The Brewnettes and Beerthief Artisanal and Craft Beer Club are putting on a tasting of Evil Twin beers next Thursday at the Quidi Vidi Brewery. Starting at 7:30, attendees will have a chance to taste four beers from this Danish gypsy brewery: Low Life Pilsner, Freudian Slip Barleywine, I Love You With My Stout Imperial Stout, and Molotov Cocktail Imperial IPA. Pretzels and hummus will be provided, and the Quidi Vidi bar will be open throughout the event. To reserve your spot, please do so via email before Tuesday. This is a members only event, but membership is free, and open to all beer-loving women in Newfoundland.

• Sunday’s Stillwell Open was a great event, with a dozen breweries and homebrewers competing in a blind tasting, with attendees voting on their favourite Backyard BBQ beers. The competition was fierce, with the winning beer revealed around 7pm. And, believe it or not, our very own Chris McDonald was the winner! He brewed a Lemon & Ginger Witbier on the pilot system at Good Robot, and the crowd seemed to enjoy the combination of lemon aroma with ginger spice and “snap”. Tatamagouche’s Sunrise Trail Session Ale,  Boxing Rock’s Sessionista, and Big Spruce’s Silver Tart all finished extremely close in the voting, with less than 0.5 points (out of 40) separating the top four. We’re looking forward to next year’s event already!

•  The event also served as the launching pad for a few new beers in our region,  Propeller Brewing’s latest One Hit Wonder, The S’Wheat Life. This 4.5% ABV Wheat Beer is light in bitterness, at 10 IBUs, and is available now at both the Dartmouth and Gottingen breweries for growler fills. Garrison Brewing released Le Saison Froide, a Saison brewed with Mint, Japanese Tea, and Lime, weighing in at 4.2% ABV, and will be available shortly at the brewery for growler fills. They have also released the next in their “Pucker Up” series, Apricot Saison, and their Sugar Moon Maple will be available at the brewery this weekend. And as mentioned above, Big Spruce’s Silver Tart is now available for growler fills, and select bars across the province. They used 125 pounds of raspberries to achieve the wonderful flavour and striking colour, and used Lactobacillus bacteria to achieve the acidic character of the beer. A little more on the background here.

Have a fabulous long weekend… it’s looking like some nice weather, so get out there and enjoy it with some local craft beer! The seasonal Pump House Weizen (~5.2% ABV) is back on tap at the brewpub, and is also available for growler fills at all four ANBL growler stations this weekend. The Bad Apple Brewhouse Tap Takeover continues into the weekend at Tom’s Little Havana, and includes two brand new beers, Honey Wagon Honey Pale Ale, Tom’s Smoked Porter, and returning favourites Mosaic DIPA, Box Cutter IPA and APA. The Grimross Maritime Pale Ale (more info here) is now pouring at the brewery for both growler fills and on-site consumption. Those behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival have been hinting at an upcoming Canada Day event; all we know at the moment is that it will be a smaller, exclusive event, but we’ll have more info on that (and other plans up their sleeves) very soon! The SmartBrew system at the Nook & Cranny is in place, and they are fermenting their Wheat Ale, IPA and Pale Ale now. And homebrewers, today is the last day to register and drop off your entries for the Brewnosers Homebrew Competition at your local Noble Grape.